Saturday, February 10, 2007

Open Thread

From floridagal

Outraged. A DLC advocate sure shows their attitude toward the rest of us in the party.
And some links I've found throughout the day...

Undoing Obama: Inside the Coming Effort to Dismantle A Candidate

Meena Chandra In Defense of Subodh

Oscar says he's "Gone fishing"

And thank you to listener for passing along this link: White tiger cubs debut at Argentine zoo (Nice kitties.)

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The power of the link, part 2

Part 1 is here.

One thing I just discovered in my search for posts about Blogroll Amnesty Day, is that the main things that were showing up in Google were posts by the Big Boys of Blogging. And they were, of course, saying what a great idea Blogroll Amnesty Day was. It's yet another example of the power of links--the "big boys" have the power to be heard, even when it comes to someone doing a simple Google search to find out what the heck Blogroll Amnesty Day is all about.

Just sayin'...

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Ned Lamont liveblogging at Firedoglake

Ned Lamont liveblogging at Firedoglake now. Drop by and say thank you for how hard he worked trying to unseat Lieberman.

Here's a "Howardly" for Ned.

The explanation of the graphic, for anyone who missed this a while back...

It's a capital H. ('Cause Howard is a capital guy)
It's blades of grass(roots) growing out of b@lls of steel, joined by a strong bond.
It's one segment of a strand of Human DNA ('cause Howard approached problems with the mind of a scientist. And, he's the most human politician I've ever known.)
It's the flame he ignited in the Party. (in DFA blue, of course)
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The power of the link

The following is from the comments in yesterday's thread, but I think it's important to highlight it...

Every link you give raises the authority of that Blog... And when they link back to you, both of your Blogs authority goes up even more notches on search engines' results.

Do you ever wonder how some of the junk on the right-wing sites manage to make the top of the search engine's lists?

I have said this over and over again:


In your Blogroll and in your diaries. Shameless links help everyone in the left community.
Connecticut Man1 | Homepage | 02.09.07 - 2:12 pm
Amazing. I know about the importance of linking as far as Google ranking (although apparently the algorithms have been changed to try to thwart Google-bombing, like the "miserable failure" thing. But I *hadn't* thought of that as the reason right wing crap ends up so high when you search for news stories about a Democrat.

Anyway, I just commented at skippy's blog, in response to the great blogroll amnesty program marches on, that...

I'm trying to do something similar, but don't know when I'll find the time to undertake the project in earnest. But if anyone would like to do a link exchange with Howard-Empowered People, please leave me a comment in one of the threads, and I'll get to it sooner than "eventually".

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Friday, February 09, 2007

It's what you do with what you've got

Crossposted at My Left Wing, ePluribus Media and Booman Tribune

I'd like to be able to let the blogroll issue go. That would be the more "comfortable" choice. I mean, this is shaping up to be everything I *don't* like to do in my free time. It's not fun to blog about, and it's not "nice". I open myself up to being trashed by people who will just *know* that this is about sour grapes or my nose being out of joint or heaven knows what else. It's the end of a long week, and I'd much rather kick back and relax a bit. Maybe play with my Sims, or watch a movie with the hubby. Or, short of that, work on some new designs that can generate some additional income--not "fun" in the traditional sense, but something I have a better shot at actually benefitting from in a "what's in it for me?" sort of way. This, on the other hand, looks like a great big bowl of no fun.

But I've seen enough arguments for why blogrolls do matter that I really don't feel like "letting this thing go" is an option.

At the end of January, I attended part of the Moving Faith Forward Leadership Retreat of We Believe. At the beginning of that first day, there was an opening prayer, and then a song. The chorus of the song (by Si Kahn) was

It's not just what you're born with
It's what you choose to bear
It's not how big your share is
But how much you can share
And it's not the fights you dreamed of
But those you really fought
It's not what you've been given
It's what you do with what you've got
This afternoon, I was thinking about those lyrics, and the idea of using the gifts one has been given. What are these "gifts" with which the Creator has seen fit to bless me? Well, the most relevant one to this situation would be my experience of being "on the margins" in one way or another. Being interracially married, homeschooling for a while, being the mother of a special needs/gifted child. Not gifts I would have *asked* for, but these experiences have made it a little easier for me to empathize with people who are disenfranchised in one way or another. People who are told by the power structures of society that they just don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

And those are the very people whose needs tend to be brushed aside as inconvenient or embarrassing when a blog like the big orange place becomes more aligned with the establishment. You say your vote didn't count? Sorry, we can't talk about that. People might call us crybabies. We'd better distance ourselves from you and call you a "fraudster". Concerned about issues of race? Gender? GLBT rights? Sorry, you're kind of inconvenient and embarrassing, so it's under-the-bus with you too. (But if you don't support us, and we lose, you are *so* taking the fall for it!)

Many bloggers have already posted about this issue. I agree with much of what others have already said, and linked to some of those thoughts in my earlier post. What I've tried to share here is why this matters to *me*, and why I feel compelled to renew my efforts to explore ways that the "little fish" can band together to make a difference.

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Late last night I finally found out what the "Amnesty Day" was that Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing was talking about in this post. Jon Swift explains it here. Apparently, first Atrios/Eschaton declared "Amnesty Day" (you can find Atrios' own words via the Swift link, 'cause I ain't linking to him) and then Markos decided, "What a great idea, I'm gonna do that too!" Both "big time" bloggers dumped their entire blogrolls and then re-added those blogs they considered "worthy". Yep, rather Orwellian use of the word "amnesty". But here's what I wanted to emphasize before heading out to work...

From skippy:

so, in spite of the protestations that it's "nothing personal," it's quite literally the opposite: you cut a blog from your roll, you are stating to your readers that you don't find that blog of any value. that cut blog is no longer your peer.

you may say it doesn't mean that, but actions (and linkage) speak louder than words.
any blog that has linked to skippy and has not received a reciprocal blogroll link will now be included on our roll! all you have to do is notify us in our comments section or email us, and we will happily include you! that will show those big shot elitists too good for the little guy blogs! ha!

and we hope to hell we have the longest blog roll in blogtopia!

and yes! we coined that phrase!

Anyway, I need to take off for work, but I recommend reading skippy's blog for more on this issue. When I get a chance, I'm going to follow skippy's lead and add more links to our blogroll. I know it doesn't remotely make up for being de-linked by the "big boys", but I'd like us little fish to do everything we can to stick together.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday evening updates

Thank you to jc for posting a link to John Edwards' statement about his employees who have come under fire from right wing extremists.

The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.
Better than it could have been, I guess, but given that the "outrage" came from the likes of Malkin and Donahue, who are well known for their hateful rhetoric, this seems like a missed opportunity. Edwards could have invited Bill Donahue, for example, to commit to modeling the standard of civil, non-hateful speech that he wants Edwards to demand of his employees. After all, didn't that Jesus guy say something about removing the log from your *own* eye first?

And Karen added...

I agree with everyone here on Edwards.

On another subject, I think the bruhaha over Nancy's flight plans is hilarious!

Pelosi said she would be happy to fly on commercial airliners but said the House sergeant-at-arms office urged her to continue Hastert’s practice of using Air Force transport. She said she was informed on her first trip home that her plane would not make it across the country.

“I said well, that’s fine, I’m going commercial,” she told Fox News. “I’m not asking to go on that plane. If you need to take me there for security purposes, you’re going to have to get a plane that goes across the country, because I’m going home to my family.”

I say, "You Go Girl"!! ;)
jc commented Nancy's "scandal" is just another case of fake outrage by the right-wingers. I hope it helps remind Nancy that she's dealing with thugs.

Which is funny, because while I was on my lunch break today, this idear for a new bumper sticker popped into my head...

Just say no to thugs

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Why the Edwards situation matters

Chris Bowers has this post at MyDD.

Why The Edwards Situation Means So Much To Me

Go read it. It's good.

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Howard gets some front page love at MLW

I wasn't planning to do another post tonight, but couldn't resist when I saw this post on the front page of My Left Wing.

I'll Always Want My Country Back

And I was planning to post a link to it even before I saw that I got a mention in the post. Honest, I was. :)

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fetch me the smelling salts!

This seems to be a big topic in blogtopia

Via Skippy, we have this post from Salon's War Room: Edwards campaign fires bloggers

The right-wing blogosphere has gotten its scalps -- John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach, Salon has learned.

The bloggers, Amanda Marcotte, formerly of Pandagon, and Melissa McEwan, of Shakespeare's Sister, had come under fire from right-wing bloggers for statements they had previously made on their respective blogs. A statement by the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, which called Marcotte and McEwan "anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots," and an accompanying article on the controversy in the New York Times this morning, put extra pressure on the campaign.
Bloggers using profanity? Fetch me the smelling salts! Not sure where to find them, but maybe you can ask Dick Cheney. As I understand it, he's fond of dropping the "F-bomb" from time to time.

Well, hopefully Salon had inaccurate information, and these two bloggers were not really fired based on complaints from the likes of Donahue. Chris Bowers of MyDD says we should wait to hear from Edwards. Fine, I'm waiting...

Tags: , ,

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Organizing/Corrective action

As I've mentioned once or twice in the past week, I recently started a temp project that has me at work during what some people call "bankers' hours". The upshot of this is twofold--first of all, I have less time to write up posts about political topics for my own blog. But I've had even less time available for making the rounds to other political blogs. I've tried to keep up on the basic headlines, but have kept my distance from the "meta" discussions that have been popping up. In particular, when I see a post entitled Meta: People are so f***ing moronic on this site, I don't even click.

Until today, when the combination of weather and technical issues at work conspired to give me the day off. And Maryscott O'Connor at My Left Wing frontpaged the diary in question. It's also crossposted at Booman Tribune. I recommend reading the whole thing. The kids are home from school today *again*, so I'm not likely to be able to give this issue the quality of thought and writing that I would like. But I do want to raise the issue.

For anyone who is not aware of this, the owner and proprietor of Daily Kos has recently decided to go for a "cleaner" blogroll, culling some sites that used to be included there. My first thought was, big whoop, my blog was never deemed "worthy" in the first place. But after seeing BostonJoe's remarks on the issue, I believe it is worth closer examination.

I guess I am suggesting that in a community of bloggers, where some power is owed to the number of bloggers that visit a site, ought not the community members have some say in the governance of that site? I know this is a bit of a radical notion, for those who have difficulty looking in any way beyond the concept of private property rights. But does not the power of DailyKos, to some extent, flow from the very people who visit it daily to read and write and think? And if so, ought they not have some say? I am not advocating a democracy here. But suggesting that their might be democratic models of governance which might better serve a community. An elected advisory board, perhaps. A consultive body drawn from the membership. Maybe ombudsman, with some power to consult on important decisions.

My comments here are, to some extent, dictated by Kos' statement. I find it disrespectful, if not indicative of a pervasive attitude of the management. As an anti-war hippie-esque supporter of feminist causes and espouser of an anarchist political philosophy, I have certainly been offended by Kos' statements and general attitude in the past. And as a reader and writer at The Booman Tribune and MyLeftWing, I am certainly chagrined that these blogs have been shunned by the new look blogroll. So hold these items against me if you will. But I ask the above questions in earnest, because I think there are many liberals here with whom I share much in common. And I doubt that I am the only blogger who has thought out these issues in this way. I also view the blogroll issue as more important than Kos himself (if you bother to read the story and thread linked above), because I found those like minds at these other sites through Kos' blogroll. Absent the inclusive blogroll, as it once existed, I would be a less rich person in terms of friends and thoughts.

The Big Orange, as your community is often referred to at these "lesser blogs," is certainly a powerful place in the blogosphere. But I'd like to think that your lesser blog partners are important too - and that the blogging phenomenon, in general, is worthy of discussing the above issues.

As I mentioned above, I agree that the issue is worth discussing. "Big Orange" has been seen as enough of a force in the blogosphere that big name politicians and candidates post diaries there. But the blog would not be what it is were it not for the diverse voices posting there. The whole netroots/blogosphere political phenomenon is, in my mind, supposed to be about ordinary people saying "We have the power" once again.

Hmm...where have we heard those words before? Yep, the man this blog is named after. And one of the things many of us find so endearing about Howard Dean is the frequency with which the words, "No, thank you! come out of his mouth. He doesn't let the admiration he receives from some of us go to his head. He recognizes that the Democratic party has only been able to achieve recent successes because of all of us chipping in and doing what we can, from where we are. It's not about "rock stars", it's about lots of people doing the hard work every day, united by a common vision/dream of creating an America where no one is left behind.

Anyway, there's something terribly ironic about the the site that has come to represent "the Democratic netroots" (at least in the minds of many in the media and the politicians who see it as enough of a force to be reckoned with/sucked up to) is run in such a freaking autocratic way.

I have no expectation that anything can be done to change the way someone else's site is run, but I do see a need for progressives to band together online to create a force to be reckoned with outside of that "It's my blog, I call the shots, you are here at my pleasure and are to play by my rules" environment.

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Last night I linked to this diary at about the history of "blood diamonds" at Booman Tribune. This is something I'd never known before...

The poverty caused by the depression in the 1930s and World War II in the forties severely depressed the diamond market. Oppenheimer's son Harry took over De Beers and went to America to hire an ad company to help them sell more diamonds. He hired N.W. Ayer to launch a marketing campaign, which garnered De Beers the world-famous slogan "A Diamond is Forever." As the article linked above states:

The goal behind the marketing campaign was to ensure that women kept their diamonds literally forever. The goal was to prevent a secondary market for diamonds by persuading women that diamonds should be untouched by another woman to really have any meaning. This allowed De Beers to maintain control of the diamond trade at wholesale level and retailers to sell diamonds at a high price without competition from secondary markets. [...] It was this marketing campaign that made diamond wedding and engagement rings so popular, and pushed diamonds to become the number one coveted gem by women.
As I noted last night, Demetrius recently commented that the diamond ads have gotten obnoxious in their frequency these days. Then he remembered, "Oh, that's right, Valentine's Day is coming..."

It's amazing to me that the diamond people were able to pull off a marketing coup of such proportions. The whole "two months salary" recommendation, for example.

There was something on Saturday Night Live some years ago, mentioning that recommendation, and then the commentator added, "and the American Crack Association recommends that you spend 100% of your salary on crack".

Diamonds, the perfect Valentine gift (if you've got loads of cash and zero imagination)

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Russ Feingold needs our help

Via Firedoglake:

Because Russ Asked You To…

Yesterday, I put out a plea to contact your elected representatives and tell them how you feel about escalation. I'm asking you to take it a step further. If my plea isn't enough, then consider this – do it because Sen. Russ Feingold is asking you to make the call, send the fax, set up a meeting — whatever it takes to get your elected officials to hear what you have to say on the mess that is Iraq.

And do it today.

Yesterday evening, I was on a conference call with several other bloggers and Sen. Feingold, and he made a passionate statement against the mess in Iraq — and for all of us standing up and telling our elected representatives that we have had enough. Enough. Sen. Feingold's office was nice enough to send a partial transcript of the Senator's remarks, and I wanted to share that with you:

Click here for Feingold's remarks, and here for a video of his appearance on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night.

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It is effing cold outside!

Need to take off for work, so will make quick, but here's what I found from a quick Google search for an image to represent how damn cold it is this week.

The kids have another day off from school, as Demetrius noted last night...

Kids are off school again tomorrow. That's thrown a monkey wrench in what I thought my plans were. WATBs at the School Board think 9 degrees is too cold for them. When *I* was a kid we had to walk 10 miles to school... at ABSOLUTE ZERO... uphill in *both* directions! Then we had to build the school itself out of ice blocks before the bell rang!
By the way, haven't had much time to spend on setting it up, but I found a new place to do t-shirts in addition to Cafe Press and Zazzle, for anyone who's interested.

Time to bundle up and head out. Have a great day, everyone. Stay warm!

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Open Thread

Click for some Monty Python sketches.

Update: Just catching up on the blogs after a day at work and wanted to point this out to anyone who hasn't seen it:

Snickers Superbowl Web site promotes violence against gays and lesbians. Bears & Colts players react in disgust, on camera, to gays.

AmericaBlog has posted updates throughout the day. I gather that the offending web page has been pulled down, but so far I'm not aware that the company has made a statement.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Al Gore Macarena

From Renee--this came about as a result of a discussion in the previous thread. Noting that Al Gore is up for an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize, why not think big and try for a Grammy with An Inconvenient Truth: The Musical. Cat said that it would have to include the Macarena...


(click for midi accompaniment)

Global warming! Watch the icecaps meltaway-a
Soon'll be so hot we won't even have a praya
They all tell me, Try to sell me
Movie with Al Gore on the big screen
Just released on DVD
So I can buy and take it home with me

(refrain 2x)
'Til the Earth in the fuego meltaway-a
6 miles per gallon in a Hummer driveaway-a
So little Georgie Bush he can believe that he's a playa
Eeeeh Meltaway-a!

Now don't you worry BushBoy tells me
Oil addiction's bad as nicotine-o
Didn't want him. Didn't elect him.
Knew he was no good so I... *AAaarrGH!*
Now, come on, what was Kerry supposed to do?
It's not like he had 14 million dollars he could contest the... Ohhh. Nevermind.

(refrain 2x)
(Claps) AiiGH! AiiGH!
(refrain 2x)

Find a solution 'fore the icecaps meltawaya
Maybe elect a president who oil companies won't sway-a
Come join me. Work with me.
Carpool all your friends to the polls to vote for me.

(Refrain 5x)

For anyone who might not get the Macarena reference, it's from the 1996 Democratic National Convention...

But when he began, Gore also spoofed his reputation for stiff self-control and the delegates' daily Macarena dance session, offering to do "the Al Gore version of the Macarena."

Gore stood ramrod still, his face deadpan.

"Would you like to see it again?" he asked.

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Gratuitous Puppy Bowl Post

From my Puplinks web site. Click one of the images below for a printable poster (PDF) or visit our Cafe Press store for merchandise featuring these designs and others.

We are not disposable: Pets are family, family is forever

If you don't train me, don't blame me

Dogs can't add...

...but they sure can multiply!
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Jock Cooper's "Fractal Recursions"

There are 29 Fractal Animations at Jock Cooper's website available for free download. If you download all of them to your computer, then "select all" and play in your favorite media player, as I did this week, you will enjoy an enormous treasure of mind blowing digital artistry. I know it's a little work for a Sunday Morning, but it will be well worth the effort.

(Hint: Best viewed in "Full Screen" mode.)


by Subway Serenade

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Puppy Bowl!

I can't help myself--everywhere I look on the internets (well, the bloggy part of the internets, at least) I'm seeing posts about the Super Bowl. And I. just. don't. care.

Seriously, to care any less than I already do, I would probably need special equipment. But, not wanting to be left out of the fun completely, I thought I would post about the Puppy Bowl.

No, not that kind of bowl. I kid. This kind of Bowl...

Animal Planet has reinvented the Big Game with the cutest, fuzziest and - at times- fiercest players on the field. When we say "rookie" we aren't kidding - some of these athletes are just nine weeks old. From bulldogs to boxers and everything in between, it's a fantastic team playing in a spectacular brand-new stadium. Join us for tackles, fumbles and fouls on the third annual Animal Planet Puppy Bowl premiering Sunday, February 4, 3-6 p.m. ET with encore presentations at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET only on Animal Planet.

Click here for more.

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